Future Baylor students? Ryan sixth graders learn about health professions at BCM visit

The third annual Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan Open House was held Monday, Feb. 15, with 320 sixth graders from BCMA Ryan in attendance. The middle schoolers spent a half-day on Baylor’s campus learning about the different aspects of medicine, including anatomy and allied health. While here, they heard from a panel of Baylor’s graduate and medical students, toured Michael E. DeBakey Library and Museum and participated in a team-building activity.

The annual event helps to instill the importance of education in the students while showing them what Baylor has to offer, said Dr. Nancy Moreno, associate provost and senior associate director of the Center for Educational Outreach at Baylor. The Center for Educational Outreach also hosts a similar event for the Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions freshmen every fall.

Baylor’s unique relationship with BCMA Ryan began in 2013 when the Houston Independent School District’s Board of Education approved the creation of the middle school.

“The BCMA at Ryan magnet program was the logical next step in Baylor’s collaboration with HISD, as it enhances the K-12 pathway for students seeking to pursue education and careers related to the health professions or any other STEM field. Importantly, the school already has been recognized by the State of Texas for its success in closing the achievement gap,” Moreno said.

With Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan’s curriculum strongly focusing on science, health and mathematics, the open house gives the sixth graders an opportunity to see behind the scenes. Part of this year’s open house included walking through a hypothetical patient case with faculty members from the School of Allied Health Sciences.

“It was great to see the Ryan students engaged with our faculty as they worked,” said Dr. Robert McLaughlin, dean for the School of Allied Health Sciences. “They learned how healthcare professionals team up to restore a patient’s functioning after serious injury. We wanted to teach them that being a good student now can set them on a path for any kind of healthcare career.”

“Students were excited after their visit,” Moreno said. “It is a highlight of their sixth grade year at BCMA at Ryan and helps to frame their expectations and future career aspirations.”